Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Ferrari aim to 'raise the bar' with 2019 F1 challenger they hope will beat Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

The Italian team have gone close to championship success the past two seasons but have still not won a title since 2008

Ferrari's 2019 challenger for the Formula One season. Handout
Ferrari's 2019 challenger for the Formula One season. Handout

Ferrari have become the last of Formula One's major players to unveil the car they hope will end their long championship drought.

The famous Italian team have not won a drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen triumphed in 2007, while they are without a constructors' championship since 2008.

Ferrari's challenge is set to be spearhead by Sebastian Vettel, although the four-time world champion will have new company in the sister car following highly-rated Charles Leclerc's arrival from Sauber, with veteran Raikkonen moving in the opposite direction.

Vettel will be under pressure to deliver in 2019 after his series of mistakes afforded Lewis Hamilton the chance to sew up last year's title with two rounds to spare.

Ferrari are also under new management for the forthcoming campaign as Maurizio Arrivabene was axed in January and replaced by Mattia Binotto, the team's technical director for the last three years.

Ferrari held the performance edge over Mercedes at a number of races in 2018 but, like their number one driver, were guilty of making errors.

Speaking at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters on Friday, Vettel said: "I am looking forward to this year. The team is on the right path, and hopefully, we can continue improving."

Binotto added: "The car is a development from last year, it's not a revolution.

"We simply tried to push again, raise the bar, raise the level, and have tried to be as extreme as we could."

The new Ferrari, the SF90 to commemorate Ferrari's 90th anniversary, will hit the track at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Monday for the opening winter test following a shakedown at the track on Sunday.

Hamilton, who drove his Mercedes during a shakedown test at Silverstone on Wednesday, begins his quest for a sixth title in Melbourne on March 17.

Updated: February 15, 2019 04:17 PM

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